State Capitol News
8:23 am
Wed October 16, 2013

AZ Court Blocks Candidates From Taking Higher Campaign Contributions

The Court of Appeals this week blocked candidates from taking the sharply higher campaign contributions that the Republican-controlled Legislature approved earlier this year. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Under the old law, legislative candidates could take $440.00 from any one individual or political action committee. The new law boosted that to $4,000.00. Lawmakers have also scrapped the $14,688.00 limit on how much candidates can take from all PACs for any election. The Clean Elections Commission sued, arguing the old limits are linked to the 1998 voter-approved optional system of public financing, with that voter approval making legislative tinkering off limits.

This week's ruling restores the old limits, at least for now. But, Mike Liburdi, representing Republican legislative leaders defending the law, said the ruling is not the last word. Liburdi said, "there is an option to petition for review at the Arizona Supreme Court. There is an option to seek a stay. We are heavily considering all our options and we're preparing to move as expeditiously as possible."

Tom Collins, the commission's executive director, said less clear is what happens to the money above the limits that candidates have now been taking for a month . "The questions of backwards looking is not nearly as immediate as the question of going forward," Collins said. "Because whatever somebody did in the preceding last month, they did it. It's done."

Collins said he will await a final order from the court.